Claudia...glanced at her watch with satisfaction. It was only ten o'clock, the beds were made and lunch was ready, except for frying the bacon. It seemed that the more one used of a day, the more of a day there was to use.
(Young Claudia by Rose Franken)
Think of that! To have the housework done by ten o'clock--in the morning, that is.
Not going to happen if you sit down at your computer in the morning, not for me, it's not. If I sit down to check my blog, i.e., comments left for me and then email to answer those comments and then visiting those blogs first to leave comments on their blogs and then just a peek at other blogs with new posts so I can leave comments on theirs...would you look at the clock! Two hours have passed. How did that happen? And the energy I had for housework when I got out of bed, where did that go? Well, the title wasn't Young Claudia for nothing. Rose Franken didn't name her book Old Claudia, did she?
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness....
(Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities)
Pardon me, I thought we were discussing blogging here...Oh, that's right we were discussing blogging.
When I began to blog it was to be for three reasons. First was to express the love I have for houses. Houses and stories of the people who live in them. Not a house blog like so many charming ones that feature pictures of beautiful houses, although I dearly love to look at them. Not even a house blog showing the blogger's own house, although I have probably tried to do that much too much. R.H. and I are older householders and while I don't think we're stuck in a time warp, which can be a trap for older people, there really doesn't seem to be a classification for our "style." It has derived mainly from having to use what we already owned into the colorful, cozy, cluttered look that we like, along with some gee-whiz-let's-try-this-look-for-a-change decor choices.
No, my first desire to blog was to share (surely there's got to be a better word than the overdone share, but I can't think of it right now) the rooms and houses I've fallen in love with in books, the alternate world I live in.
The second reason I began to blog was to record the beauty of this secluded valley where we are blessed to live and the simple things of our life here at Valley View. This was to be a joint project with R.H. who, new camera in hand, would make these pictures possible. The blog also wandered away of its own volition to include family history that kept popping up in our minds or that I came across in my old journals.
Then there is that third reason for blogging. I wanted my children, someday, to know who it was they were going to be burying. You didn't read that wrong. Part of the reason I wanted to start blogging was so that my children would someday know who they were burying, because I often felt that they did not have a clue.
Have you every felt that way?
Here is one of Elizabeth Berg's characters speaking in The Pull of the Moon:
He said, I remember when my mother went through her change. For a while, I think for a whole year, she acted crazy as hell. She was all depressed and weepy--used to lock herself in the bathroom and wouldn't come out. I don't know what she was doing in there, but it was bad, we had only one bathroom and six kids. But then, all of a sudden, she was done with that. She launched herself into a new life where she felt she could say the hell with anything she didn't like, and by God, she did say the hell with anything she didn't like. She quit making dinner unless she wanted to, and she wanted to only about once a week. She wore these turquoise pedal pushers almost every day, big hoop earrings. She was really different, and at first this scared me, but then I realized I liked her better. She became a real person to me. She was interesting. After my father died, she moved into a small house that was entirely her. And she was happy, I swear until the day she died. We knew exactly who we were burying.
Think of that! Wouldn't you sometimes, once in a blue moon, want to be like her? I would, but there's just one problem. Believe it or not, I'm a tad too nice to be saying "the hell with that" too often. Turquoise pedal pushers and big hoop earrings? Probably not but maybe a variation of Jenny Joseph's "When I am old I will wear purple" lines. That sounds doable. And one of my when-I-am-old moments these last two weeks of NOT blogging has been to reassess what I want blogging to be like for me in the future. I cannot make blogging a business, never intended to. I discovered blogs about a year and a half before I began to blog and during that time I visited them for enjoyment, inspiration, often for motivation, and also purely for the good company. I lost some of that lately. Instead I found myself trying to visit as many blogs as possible and leave comments. It took hours of my day, a necessity I was told, if you want to build your blog. Time required for that, ladies and gentlemen. Lots of valuable time.
So, no more attempting to build my blog. I will go back to what it was meant to be, I hope, and limit my time doing it to allow me the time I need to keep my house in reasonable shape, spend the time needed in the office of our family business, and still give me time to enjoy family and my passion for reading and the scribbling I've done for years about families from the 1840s to the 1950s, these secret families whose characters have become as real to me over the years as family.
I hope to post once or sometimes twice a week--much shorter posts than this one, I promise--and spend two or three nights a week visiting my blog friends purely because I love visiting them and seeing what they're up to in their house, their garden, their family, their beloved pets. I will try to leave thoughtful comments to encourage them and exchange emails with those who have become friends.
I realize that blogging may be something entirely different for others, and I do offer this word of encouragement for women from the pen of Catherine Drinker Bowen from an article she wrote in 1937 in Woman's Home Companion--and this lady knew whereof she was speaking:
I urge women, young women, to find out now what they can do and enjoy best, and do it all during those busy years of motherhood, if only for ten minutes a day. Or if they cannot do it for ten minutes, then let them think about doing it...We need it as ballast for our emotions, as wings for that individuality which we abandoned during our busy happy sacrificial years. Begin at twenty or earlier, if you are lucky enough to have found your bent and your talent then. Nor need it be talent. Taste, inclination, curiosity, interest--any of these is enough.
Catherine sounds like a smart cookie to me. If blogging gives you this ballast or is a means of sharing (Help! another word, please!) the loves and talents you have, then what an amazing thing blogs are and no doubt a huge reason for their popularity today. How much of your life that blogging consumes is something that has to be examined personally and periodically. I have read several posts lately where some smart cookies are doing just that. Good for them!
Blogging can be "the best of times and the worst of times" and it can also be valuable ballast.